We’ve fielded many calls from our clients receiving a call supposedly from Google telling them that their Google Business or Google Maps listing is incorrect.
It usually starts with a robo-dialed voice chat bot saying, “Hi, this is Julie, your Google Business Listing representative. I’m calling you today because we noticed information on your Google Maps listing is incorrect.” Nine times out of ten, it’s always “Julie.” As soon as you speak, you are routed to someone claiming to represent Google which leads to a sales pitch and a $399 charge so that their “engineers” can update your listing. This is misleading, and most often a complete scam. That, or you’re paying for something your digital marketing agency can legitimately handle for you at a lower cost, or you can do your self.
Fact: Google does not call you out of the blue to update your Map listing.
If that’s true, then why do you get this call shortly after updating your map listing? Some of these companies run software that tells them what map listings have recently been updated. The unsuspecting victim may have just claimed their map listing on Google Maps or Google My Business and simply didn’t pay attention to the fact that Google only uses one of two ways to validate a claimed listing:
They will call the number associated with the Maps listing with a code that you will enter directly on the map listing.
If the phone on the listing is old or incorrect, they will mail you a postcard with the code.
To cover their tracks and keep Google from finding out about their shady practice, these robo-dial companies will give you a 1-800 number to call when you receive the postcard and usually restate the importance of calling that number rather than following the directions given by Google on the postcard. You’ll also note that the email on the postcard (which actually comes from Google) has the robo-dial company’s email rather than yours.
If you have claimed your listing directly from Google Maps with one of the two ways above, then you or your digital marketing agency has full access to make any changes such as adding descriptions or keywords. However, just adding keywords does not guarantee your website or map listing will appear at the top of searches for every keyword you add. That determination depends on your location in reference to the person searching (for Google Maps) and Google’s algorithm. You can’t pay Google (other than Adwords) to appear at the top of Google Maps searches or organic search results (any result that is not a Google Adwords text ad). This doesn’t stop unscrupulous companies from pretending that they have a direct in with Google engineers and that the only way to update your listing is to pay them.
Here’s what Google has to say about these Google Maps robo calls.